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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 25, 2013 6:00am-8:01am EDT

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>> on behalf of ccyj, i would submit that whatever efforts which we undertake to address the proliferation of sex trafficking of our former and current foster youth should be research-based, collaborative,
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coordinated, data-driven and sustainable. these efforts should focus on identification and support of the victims, and must recognize that this is a crime of mobility which requires a unified and consistent response, response that does not merely move the incidence from one neighborhood, one county, one state to another. and the beauty of the federal leadership on these issues. thank you very much. >> i would also like to introduce another friend from washington state, ms. giovengo, who has over 27 years of experience developing and implementing re- engagement programs for out of school and homeless youth. she is the executive director of youthcare, which helps homeless youth, and operates the only program in washington state providing residential services for sexually exploited youth. you're recognized for five minutes.
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>> good afternoon, chairman reichert, and members of the subcommittee. i'm grateful for the opportunity to address the subcommittee on this important topic. my name is melinda giovengo and i am the drug of youthcare located in seattle, washington. since 1994, youthcare has been a leader in providing effective services to help seattle's run what and homeless youth get off the streets and repair for life. we were founded to help eliminate the sexual exploitation of children in our community. our agencies dynamic program and collaboration serve as a model for working with runaway, homeless and sexually exploited youth locally and nationwide. runaway and homeless youth are at high risk for sexual exploitation. recent studies asset inside today estimate there's an exorbitant reverence between these two populations prior to these young people. to better serve the client of youthcare we operate the bridge continuum of services for sexually exploited youth, consisting of identification and
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outreach strategies, community-based advocates which i like to call lifelines, emergency shelter programs, long-term housing, and most important, education and employment training which helps offer these young people an opportunity to find a way out of exploitation. these services are, informed and are often victim informed. the city of seattle estimate between 701,000 homeless youth on our streets every night. they also have a significant problem with sexual exportation and the trafficking of children. 2008, the study in king county conducted identify 238 unduplicated miners involved in prostitution, and determined the prevalence of sexual exploited youth in king county to be between three and 500 per year. a long-term risk for youth in foster care are well documented but it's only in recent years the prevalence of sex trafficking among youth in foster care has been widely recognized.
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many of the runaway and homeless youth served at youthcare are part of the foster care system or have aged out. and give my of history in and follow with child welfare -- child welfare. we see you everyday who are being trafficked and exploited and/or a system involved for whom the system has failed. it is the system's involvement combined with their runaway and homeless status which makes them uniquely vulnerable to pants and traffickers. today i'll highlight five key issues of offer recommendations to address each of these. youth in foster care discourse or a risk for victimization through sex trafficking, through their private views and of social and family support and frequency of running away. youthcare recommends that child welfare agency create a strategic plan for how to prevent trafficking among youth in care and identify and respond to use it to be, victims of sex trafficking. the youth in foster care are often victims of trafficking before social workers and foster parents or other providers are
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aware. youthcare recommends screening in take an ongoing service plan should include measures to screen for indicators of trafficking such as childhood sexual abuse. we recommend all child welfare staff and foster parents receive mandatory training on identifying and responding to sex trafficking and that specific resources be dedicated to meet the needs of victims and foster parents and social work staff. finally, we recommend social work and child welfare agencies participate in regional task forces or protocol development and efforts to respond to sex trafficking while partnering with our runaway and homeless youth programs across the nation to help lay the framework for cross country and very deep intervention strategy for these young people. they cannot legally be house and homeless youth programs receiving runaway and homeless youth act of money or hud funds. we recommend the language be amended to allow for the provision of services for state
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and youth if other placements are deemed inappropriate. the scope is the scope of prevalence is not systematically tracked or quantified and elected it is a significant barrier to the effective response. data strategies, it is recommended that data strategy should become them and to accurately how many youth in the foster care system and in the runaway and homeless youth system are being sex trafficked. finally, response is to sex trafficking of the state and local levels are buried in ecosystem. youthcare recommends policy be enacted whereby allegations of sex trafficking are automatically screened for investigation by child protection services and the definition of abuse and neglect is expanded to reflect the abuse and harm caused by pimps, traffickers, buyers of commercial sex and other custom the perpetrators accessing children through the commercial sex trade. youth and foster care are significant risk for many
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damaging and impactful outcomes not the least of which is the victimization through sex trafficking. significant resources should be vetted and implement en route to identify victims and increase the capacity of welfare agencies to protect youth from the horrible and devastating experiences. 30 years ago youthcare ran a program helping 36 young women off the streets and out of victimization of prostitution. i say tear 30 years later with the same recommendations i would have had been. icn hear from many of these 30 section women that i knew. a call, they say thank you. they have jobs, they have college degrees, they have families, they have lives. the young people i see now were not even born when they were in my care. how many thousands of young lives have been lost in those 30 years? how many more before we recognize that these are not and cordial, immoral delinquent that need to be dealt with, but children are victims of the most
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heinous forms of abuse in our community? they need our help, support, care, and dare i say love, to regain their lives. how many more and how long will those children become our children? i would like to thank the subcommittee for the interesting hearing for youthcare representation for improving child welfare systems response to sex trafficking abuse in foster care in closing we deeply appreciate the dedication of the subcommittee and particularly of you, chairman reichert, to provide leadership and bipartisan commitment to combating sex trafficking. we look forward to continued efforts and collaboration and are honored to be a resource in any way necessary as you move forward on this important issue. >> thank you for your testimony. ms. harris, you are recognized. >> minus ashley harris. we are statewide nonpartisan nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated exclusively to improving the lives of texas children through policy change.
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as a former caseworker in texas for over four years, i truly appreciate the opportunity to provide a firsthand account of how the horrible crime in tax foster kids and those guided to protect them. i have to first acknowledge t.'s testimony because i think we can agree who the real experts are. those are the former foster youth so thank you for your testimony. i hope to offer recommendations for the committee's consideration an opportunity for improvement. i've included additional items for the committees consideration in britain testimony. because of time i will specifically highlight the role that training, lower caseloads in case monitoring has on the identification and protection of our most vulnerable children. those removed from homes and placed in foster care. censoring the research reports that a majority of likely child trafficking victims who are reported missing ran away from it the foster care or a groupon
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i've been reflecting on my days as a former caseworker and when my for my kids on my caseload. stephanie was a bright, beautiful and funny young adult. i worked with her for over three years and knew her as my runner. dew tour monthly habit of running away from every single placement. since birth, stephanie's life was defined by how others used and abused her body but as a teenager she acted as the running away from care sometimes selling herself to others was a way to exert control over her body and her life. a tragic and flawed way of thinking that was a direct consequence of all she had endured. each time stephanie returned, i would pick her up but she seems fine and on we went to the next place. i never stopped to ask the question that would've allowed me to truly understand or experience and the impact of being away from foster care, all alone, exploited and broken without a person or system to protect and support her. with a caseload of over 30 teenagers are at a time, well
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above the recommended caseload of 12 to 15 per caseworker, getting her was more than a priority -- caseworkers are the people charged with protecting some of our most vulnerable children and ensures appropriate supervision that does not leave children at risk for for the abuse and neglect and promotes a child's ability to thrive both in and out of the child welfare system. i also regret that the training i received as a caseworker had not provided me the skills and support needed to understand impact of trauma on healthy child development and identify behaviors and characteristics that increase the likelihood that children in foster care will be victims of exploitation and trafficking. for many state child welfare agencies, training on these topics is not part of the initial basic skills development provided to newly hired caseworkers. additionally, basic training on human trafficking reporting laws and information on appropriate
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resources should be provided to all professionals who are likely to come into contact with possible find victims who may be on runaway. stephanie's story represents the experience of many homeless teens and those in posture living on the streets by themselves with no one to protect them and, frankly, no one really looking. when these children run away from state custody the system must respond in an expedited manner and make best efforts to locate the child and address their safety and well being. as their parent, child welfare system has a responsibility to address the needs of foster children and ensure their supervision and security. it must take precedent in a strategic plan a state and local child welfare organization. these children are all of our children. and as a nation continue to look at ways to combat human trafficking, we must do a better job at identifying, protecting and supporting vulnerable youth like stephanie, to prevent them
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from becoming another statistic. helping them thrive and become healthy, productive and happy adults. thank you so much. >> thank you all for your testimony. i couldn't help but sort of think back to the days when i was on the street as a police officer, as a homicide detective, and as detective working the green river serial murder case. that was really central around young girls and young ladies who were victims on the street being taken advantage of. and sadly some lives were taken by a monster who was prowling the streets. and what my memory brought me back to where some of the things that you all said, especially melinda, your comment about 30 years ago you had made the same recommendations. i see that so clearly. thinking back, not much has
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changed, a little bit, some has changed but not nearly enough. we have so much work to do. what i also appreciate about our first panel, too, was that they did bring some solutions. they are working on some cell legislation that i think can be helpful. what i appreciate about this bill is not only do we describe the problem for the members here today, from your perspective, but you also provide input as to what you see as solutions, which is really tremendous help for us. but i'm really curious, my first question will go to t. we had a chance as i said earlier to meet a little bit before the hearing, but first of all, i know that every member of your really recognizes the courage it takes to come and speak in front of congress, first of all, but to tell your story, i know it's hard because i have trouble telling my own story, as you and i witnessed
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earlier. so thank you for being here and thank you for having the courage to come and testify today. so you've heard some of the ideas what we can do to prevent kids in foster care from entering into the light of human trafficking. from your point of view, it would be very helpful to us to know, what do you think? what can we do as members of congress, what can the federal government do to help ensure that young kids get a good, permanent, loving home and stay off the streets and stay out of this world that we know is so destructive? >> thank you again, chairman. i think something is very important to me, first of all i
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would like to say everything spoken at this panel i'd support as he survive and some of who has the perspective of living the reality. one thing i think would be really helpful, i know for my own story and for many other stories is now we all escaped in different ways, but i think it comes down to comprehensive trauma informed and gender specific services, that means for both girls, boys, transgender, lgbtq. i think that's what so important is that we really -- what they mean is it's not just professionals but as stated here it's also victim informed. i think that's the best way that we can start to find the gap, the hole in which youth are actually falling through. for myself, it started with the connection to youth advocate who was very much trauma informed and really knew about my story for years previous.
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and so it really takes conglomerate of different people and officials who come together to really say we're going to stand up for these youth. does that answer your question? >> yes, it does, very well. i think that we, of course, -- go ahead. >> i just had another thing i wanted to say, is that in addition i think we need to really look outside and think outside the box, something that i find to be very helpful in addition to all of that. us thinking outside the box in the affect of, you know, i know for myself i had -- although i wouldn't be emplacement maintaining contact, i had cell phone from e-mail and no matter what she would main contact with me. also think that we need to go back to the real terminology of things as professionals and as people who want to make a difference. we need to understand that labeling israel and all terms. so even as, you know, as well,
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well-intentioned our work is, using the terminology of children prostitution or child prostitutes becomes very offensive and it really, it makes it a hard time for young people to be able to overcome their victimization. these young people should never be referred to as prostitutes or prostituted children because they often times are not even of legal age so how can they be selling something they don't have the legal right to have? taking that in perspective, even as a survivor i wouldn't say i'm a survivor i'm a driver and overcome it. understanding that those labels are all integrated and the way we see ourselves and the way we see our future. >> thank you. we're going to keep your phone number handy so we can give you a call and ask some questions later, is that all right? >> no problem. >> justice bridge, what you see the courts role in helping to reduce the phone about of youth in foster care? how can courts work with child
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welfare agencies to ensure that these kids are kept safe from harm? >> first i'm going to put t on speed dial as well. but the courts definitely have a role and we been, on the child welfare side of things unfortunately we get silence i have to say on one hand, child m wargo on the other hand, juvenile justice. but we know that these frequent are the same populations of kids and they certainly represent the same needs, the same, as their pathway to either juvenile justice or child welfare. with that said, the court said that a much better job working with the agency's in order to ensure that our work is consistent, that we are governed by best practices by actual data that exists rather than by anecdote or by worst of all, the comfort of the adults in the system as opposed to the voices of young people who are a part of those systems. so all of that i think is really
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important, and one of the things that i think on this particular issue that is so critical for us to work together on is the identification is key. we need to have the best science possible, including specific assessments, in order to be able to identify who these children are. many children in the state of washington are not on the juvenile justice side, don't end up in the juvenile justice system by being labeled as prostitutes. they come, however, through a variety of mostly misdemeanor offenses and the like, drug possession perhaps being the most frequent felony arrest. but there are all kinds of red flags, all kinds of good learning that we could and can and should no, and learning together to identify those kids because that's the courts rule in that regard becomes not criminalizing this person who is a victim, this child who is a
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victim, but can intervene to more positive impact that child's life and make sure that they are referred to resources which can intervene, which can interrupt the process towards beefing even more deeply trafficked. one of the things that t mentioned that just struck a chord with me was what we have learned in developing this statewide protocol in the state of washington is that in many instances, and this is true for foster kids as well as for children who are not in the foster care system. when the early days of there being trafficked, in the early days of being trafficked they are still connected, still connected primarily to their schools but they might even be connected to their families or their homes because they are ongoing but they go to school. they show a. maybe go to one or two classes but they do. it's an incredible opportunity for educators or for the court
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if they end up being directed to the court because of truancy. people have to start asking the right questions. we need to know what those right questions are entered or to ask the right questions we need to be aware of what the warning signs are like the missing school, like tattoos, like having income that is unexplained, cell phones that are maybe two or three them at the same time but all of these kind of issues. we need to be smart and we need to get smarter together. that's how the courts can work with the social service agencies spent thank you very much. mr. doggett, you are recognized. >> thank you very much. you talked about the caseload and saw several heads nodding back and forth amongst all of you as you discuss embrace issues, but just in terms of caseload, are there some national standards on what is
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appropriate for working your? how does that compare to what we have in texas? >> the child welfare league of america recommends that caseworkers are working with children in foster have a caseload of 12 to 15 children at a time. in texas, where at nearly double that recommendation. >> how do you find that in washington state? >> the caseloads i believe have been reduced over the course of the past decade, let's say, but we are still i believe, i believe on average in 1920. and particularly when you're working with vulnerable populations, you have to ask before you know when you have the particular vulnerable case of people on the caseload. and by that i mean children have been on the run from foster care. if you of 19 or if you can on your caseload, that's far too many. >> one aspect of our committee
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is the flow of federal dollars to help out with child welfare. but i would just ask you, since you're the testament of our colleagues and we've heard yours, if there are specific things within the jurisdiction of this committee that you recommend we do, whether it's now or in follow-up written testimony that you provide us your counsel. i think you've done some of that, ms. harris, and yours, and some of the other witnesses have as well. not really looking to see, isn't there a way now immediately that we can agree on some bipartisan legislation that might help what you are all doing at the state level? i know so much of this needs to be a great at the state level. yes, do you have a follow on? >> i do. i would just like to talk a little bit about what is already being done in another arena. if we look at how we are treating young people who are foreign victims of trafficking through our office of refugee
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resettlement, my organization challenges received a $1.5 million grant, a men, to be able to serve 20 bits of young people. asian people than have trauma informed care. they have an education company of people working on their legal issues. they have really appropriate supervision and care. it's a wonderful system to take care of these miners who have, are here without papers are undocumented, have been trafficked across the border. on the other side, that programmers is $109 million for programs across the country. runaway and homeless youth programs were designed and set up an appropriate originally to serve the needs of sexual exploit children in our communities. couldn't we be helping the 475 programs nationally to become the infrastructure to respond a lot easier than to set up yet another system, to be honest with you? couldn't we work in parallel
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with child welfare choose the resources we have expanded to at least have equity in how we treat our foreign victims and our local victims of? >> that's very helpful. judge, did you want to add something? >> the exclamation point that i would like to make, and i was rushing through my remarks in order to make the appropriate time frame, but what it really amounts to is mandating changes and state child welfare laws so as to include a trafficked child in the definition of an abused child. right now, and i believe that represented as noted this as well, if it's the third part is the perpetrator, then doesn't follow the most state statute or federal government can and should be the leader in this because our state statutes, 99% of our state statutes mimic what the federal statute provides. these are our kids. how could this not be abused?
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and the fact is, someone, you mentioned that, that these are our children in the most fundamental way because we've taken them from their homes. we have made a determination that those homes are not safe and not providing for their well being, and i'm not the best permanent place for them. and yet we then when they run we just don't look. it's shameful. >> doctor, were you going to add a comment? >> yeah. i just think again, while we know resources are tight, that is always going to be that way, the our administrative things that we could do to make the system work better for these young people. as it stands now a trafficked young persons in child welfare cannot have access to a transitional living program funded by hud or by the runaway and homeless youth networks because they are under the jurisdiction even those have not worked.
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if you're in foster care young person is aging out of foster care, instead of being able to go directly into a transitional living program perhaps funded by hud which we operate with, informed care, you are not eligible because you can't be in the same bed that is funded by hud. these make no sense on the ground for those of us that are doing the work. seems like we could make some small changes that would make huge differences in the lives of our young people. >> is a very constructive recommendations to the extent they're not already part of the written testimony, please do feel free to supplement so we can look for a way to respond quickly to your recommendations. thank you very much to all of you. thank you, mr. young. you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. what an excellent panel we have here. t, your testimony was inspiring, your life story certainly is riveting and really appreciate you personalizing and humanizing this affront right now that all
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of you are doing good work and i appreciate that. judge, i was particularly struck with your systematic approach to trying to address sexual trafficking in the state of washington and i think we need to do more hard analysis of data. and i know that you and your team of stakeholders in the state have been doing that, develop a protocol here. and i like to dive deeper into that with you, with several brief questions if you want intelligent. you able to learn as i understand it about best practices or generally accepted practices in other states. how is it all inform them development of washington state protocol, and how did you define these best practices from other states? >> well, that might be easier. the process for developing the
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protocol involved as i said over 200 people, what that meant was focused interviews, individual interviews with survivors as well as community folks in the committees on the ground, but also what we call many summits or small summits which brought together law enforcement, folks from the courts including judges, detention workers, juvenile probation counselors, school people, community activists, community advocates, social service providers and our department of social and health services, child welfare administrators, all trying to come together, as i said, briefly share their experience on the ground but also sharing their practices, the perspectives of their various disciplines. in addition, before we went out into the field as it were, we also did independent research and were assisted by a doctor is
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a nationally known expert on practices relating to csec pics we develop a set of recommendations that are included in the protocol about best practices. >> well, it sounds like you did a lot of field work, a lot of focus groups so to speak, and that's oftentimes how sort of information is gathered. perhaps i should follow up with somebody else with respect to some of the homework that occurred in terms of data analysis and so forth going into those meetings. but i do wonder as with some other as a public policy whether there's something lacking in terms of robust information related to this population. >> without a doubt. >> okay. and do you see opportunities for us to improve that nationally, or do you think instead he should be state-by-state
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databases so to speak of information collected from case files? i know you're in the process doing in and in state or other things. maybe you or ms. giovengo to speak to that. >> i will let her do, but certainly the answer is yes. when i mentioned it at the very end about not just moving this issue or the population from one county to the neighborhood to the next them or one county to the next or one state to the next is where federal leadership comes in. we are trying to figure what data is being collected. we know it's very little. they should be consistent definitions of what this sex trafficking means, what child sex trafficking means, and that leadership needs to come from the federal government. and when law enforcement, for example, or the court are collecting data, you know, how are they collecting this would all means the same thing and that should be in a federal database. >> thank you. one final point here.
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and consulting with the director of the center for the prevention of child sexual abuse at johns hopkins university, she indicated that she thinks much of the emphasis needs to be placed not just on treatments or punishment, him but also interventions to prevent the occurrence of sexual trafficking. i think that sounds spot on to the extent you have thoughts about investments, public investments we need to be making that will not only save money but will help protect persons in the longer run. i would be open to that testimony, either written after the fact or you give an idea right now you can quickly put forward, that would be great. >> just some quick thoughts that we tried to do in washington state, or at least in the seattle area is we've instituted national safe place which is on all of our metro buses around king county and through a coalition of homeless and when we have provided we respond any
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in person in the king county library or in our community centers that looks in and looks like they need help. we have over 3000 sites right now. the bus drivers of how you doing? they say not so good. do you need help? they cause. we meet that bus and one of the largest counties in the nation within 45 minutes and help recover that young person who may have stepped foot out of the house just mad because of broccoli or a curfew and end up on a bus with someone looking to put them in the most horrific situation. so the natural say this month is an interest in low-cost way to get your commend in fall. i think there's lots of early interventions with families who ended up in shelter programs. not just let the kid go home but try to duck tape that come together for a long time with some small interventions versus letting them become systematized and part of our long-term services. we do most with young people who come in during adolescence but
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there's lots to do with foster families and identifying and training them on the expertise of it looks like when a child living with you is beginning to get into this are beginning to perform quote unquote survival sex in our communities. i think there's a lot of training and actually not very expensive intervention we could do to create a much thicker safety net for our younger people. >> yield back. >> mr. renacci. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you for holding this hearing on defending addressing sex traffic youth in foster care. i'm very interested in working with the members of the previous panel in regards to, and any of the members from both sides of the aisle, on how federal laws and policies might be improved to better ensure the safety and well being of youth at risk of abuse and neglect. in ohio on average 12,000 children are living in foster care each month. last year more than 1500 foster children aged out of care when they turn 18.
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when i get these statistics, i not only read whether or not these individuals are prepared for life after foster care, but if the system was able to provide for them the sense of family and protections they deserve. our job as representatives is to ensure the foster system protects them and prepares them really for successes in life. t, you are an inspiration and i thank you for your dedication to helping others in foster you. you mentioned in your testimony at least once, and i read about red flags that go unnoticed by child welfare agencies. can you tell us some of what these red flags our? >> i think some of them are very much mentioned within this panel, particularly i want to say that specifically from the ages of 10-13 i was still in and out of the education system, so i think that desolate i want to go back to the absences but i think that if we take the time
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to integrate the education system in regards to identifying and in regards to educating them about this population i think is very much important because i know if you would've asked me at 13, you know, what was going on, i would have told you that this was my life because i did know anything separate. but to the education of others just like to the education system, i seek to find a new me and given me. so i think that deathly the education system. i definitely think the cell phone thing is very important, very crucial because a young child has two or three cell phones, you have to like would take the nsa what is that, what does that look like? not even that, just the context of the language. oftentimes you see young people using different language for different things. there's a certain terminologies like a green girl or using, referring to one another as the
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dword and things like that. or saying that's my wife in law. .exe means that another girl that has been victimized by the same exploiter. so identifying not on the terminology being used to really the education and and corporate education system and our hopes to make progress and identifying and helping these victims also just paying attention to changes of personality, withdrawing people, the more isolated, things of that sort but i think it's important. one thing i think is important to understand is if you would've asked me at 13, i wouldn't have seen nothing wrong because i was trained to perceive my life in this way. i didn't see it as in the lobbyists don't educate me to say something is wrong. we need to understand young people are not taught about healthy relationships. we need to understand that's a red flags having relationships that are not so healthy or are not clearly visible as far as
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what the relationship is. those are red flags. i think the biggest thing i have to say here is it's taken a long time for me to get to the place i am to get to speak the way i do, and use the semantics i do. if i was 13 i didn't have the ability to speak in this way and i didn't have the opportunities, but all the abilities i hold, my story is a conduit of many others. my hopes is that we can make these changes are of the people can come to this table and show their talents and their abilities. >> you mentioned the foster system hinders youth decision-making. what type of decisions should fall should be more in control of? >> even in regards to young person going to sleepove sleep a friends house. that is not the youth decision nor is it a decision of the caregiver. oftentimes you have to get approval from the social worker or the judge in the case, things like that. i also want to say that in
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addition to that, foster youth should be more aware of the rights because oftentimes there are disruptions in the home due to foster parents saying you do have the right to call this person or you can call that person but actually it goes against maybe the state writes that only a judge can make that decision. so in that regard i feel that, you know, does that answer your question? >> thank you so much. i'm running out of time but you mention in your testimony on illinois and florida report missing children to your organization. whawhy aren't the other states doing this? >> actually in discussion with a number of states, including ohio, and we're getting great feedback, i think there is momentum now that we have proof of concept. we know that the reports we get to states have led to the early location and finding of these children before they have been exploited. i think that's encouraging. the fear that maven prevalent
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with some of the social welfare agencies. this is a partnership. we all have a role to play here, and t said earlier in her comments, many times nobody is even looking for these children. you mentioned at the age of 18 when they a job, that means nobody will ever have looked for them and they are probably are forever lost in will continue in whatever environment they have been in. so unless we can get the reports and law enforcement gets the reports, the hope of stopping this cycle that they are bound in is almost hopeless. so but states are listening, but i think at the federal level if we want a uniformed consistent approach, that is the best model. and i know there is some proposed legislation to address that. that's what we support. every child in every state should be afforded the same level of protection. >> i want to thank all the witnesses. yield back. >> i ask unanimous consent to insert in the record an
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excellent article about today's hearing topic titled protect foster children from sex trafficking. it was written by the president of the policy institute for children, and includes a number of specific policy recommendations for us to consider. if you haven't read that article today, you all might want to take a look at that, "usa today" article. mr. reid, you are recognized. >> thank you, chairman, and thank you to the panel for the testimony and again, it's getting kind of lonely up here. we are almost done. but i appreciate this topic. obviously we're talking of something that crosses across party lines, unites us as a nation and as people to say that this type of abuse, this type of problem needs to be addressed and needs to be something that we stand united against. so i appreciate everything you guys are doing. t, what i found very fascinating about your testimony, and i read
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your testimony, and i will read you a statement here that you provided in your written testimony. it says lastly, while i was in camera social workers were aware that i was being exploited and did nothing about it. i would like to know how that happens. what do you mean by that? >> so, what i mean by that is even as emancipated youth, when trying to get some the documents of my upbringing of course when i went back to get some of what they call files, if clinton was stated in the documents that she has trauma due to years of exploitation on the streets. and it's the fact that they were made aware but at the time in my county there were not resources. there were not ways to help. i think even though i'm only 24 and we've made some and he strides within these past couple of years since i've aged out, and so i mean, literally, we
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have to -- i'm sorry. >> that's okay. you're doing fine. >> literally, we just have to pay attention and listen and stay focused really the vulnerability of these youth. >> see, that really concerns me with the people that insist on, that their sole mission -- i have met so many of them and they're just outstanding people. they are people that dedicate their lives, not for the paycheck but for the nation. winick is something like that, that tells me that something in the system is failing. what i would like to do is maybe you're from the other panelists, is how that happens and how that is not discovered in the system, and how does a worker whose mission in duty is to take care of a child in this situation, failed to do anything about it even though the record shows they are aware of it.
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can anyone explain that? >> as a former caseworker i can speak to that. i will admit that it may not -- and i would say more often, it's not as explicit as t story in fact it was in the case records. for me, i am not reflecting on some of the young women that i worked with. i'm thinking of her victims and i just did not have the skills and the training to be able to identify that. but we need is explicitly documented in case records, i think a lot of those records given the high turnover rates that you have with the caseworkers, that information may or may not be shared with the new caseworker. they may not have a history of understanding child's behavior and being able to do your been this is something that a child is often, how can we ensure that they are not being victimized. i think that has a lot to do with it. to get at that point is additional training and skill sets that many caseworkers are not receiving when they're new at the john. i have to admit many caseworkers
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are young, right out of college, they've never had experience working with vulnerable children and families. so they just don't automatically have the knowledge to be able to understand what the problem looks like and then had respond to a properly. i think access to resources is another issue. i know in texas to our limited resources specifically for victims of trafficking, and those resources are not available in all areas of texas. so that's a huge part. when it comes to those times when you know a child is being victimized, the system has to provide that caseworker the ability to respond a properly and this goes out to be able to identify that. >> i just would like to say i think this happens way more than its acknowledged. and i think it's because no one has jurisdiction over this issue inside of child welfare. so in very few states is at the purview of child welfare to
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intervene in these particular cases. i have been shocked day after the indian people that come into our care at youthcare, when we called to report from our dropping center that young person is being trafficked. child welfare says call the police. to me, this is a 12, 13 you don't, so this is an issue of no one takes ownership over these young people. knowing that tops them as they're concerned or the ongoing concern. so these multidisciplinary teams that justice bridge is talk about my resolve some of the interns we will be accountable but also we need to have, i think we need to have a policy that says where does jurisdiction lie. i would also say that there is a lot of teeth to the notion that t brings up and am always humbled to be with her, about teaching young people agencies. it's not rocket science. adolescents are not green monsters from the blues again. we know what makes young people
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feel self-confident i can stand up and do some reporting of their own things. these young people in foster care are not afforded the opportunity to learn to drive. so you take a ride from somebody. there's a vulnerability. you're not with your friends, you can go on an overnight with her girlfriends so you figure out a way to happen overnight. you are not afforded the normal opportunities that you would be in a regular home. i think that is one of the biggest disservice if we do to these young people out of fear of liability. i think that goes again with who's responsible for grading this person as he and adult and fostering that kind of growth and development in them, and it makes them all foldable to the kind of care. >> i know i'm out of time but the judge would like to respond -- we will not the judge talk as the sheriff says. >> for ms. harris, i want to say that there is somebody who is responsible outlaw ultimately for these cases, and it's the
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judge. and that is a failure on the judicial systems part in huge magnitude. and that stems back in part to lack of training and in the lack of ability again to ask the right questions to be alert to the cases that are presented, and, in fact, to approach the caseworker to some of the caseworker even into court and say, we have this child on our caseload, where issue? >> i appreciate that input, judge. when i was a law guardian when i start my practice of law, i dealt with caseworkers and child protective services and there was a huge burnout factor. it's a tough job. and not to that single person that somehow it's not handed, caseworker, caseworker, caseworker, but rueful to a judge. these should be the cases that rise to the top to say hey, we've got something very significant going on here, and to take care.
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please speak. >> just one more thing to say. as it aligns and it does fall with the judge, i think the one thing that just out of like lack of knowledge and out of the fear of protection, i think it happens all too often is that we have judges who are misinformed or not clearly educated in the way of safety is to lock the young people up in detention. and i think that we need to be really clear when we say young people get no rehabilitation, no, informed services. they are basically locked like a dog in a kennel waiting for someone to pick them up on the next try. i want to make clear that as we defer this towards judges, that they'd need to be educated and informed of other resources and goes in waves and protocols. >> great input. thank you very much. i thank the panel and i yield back spent thank all of you for being here, a little over two hours of your hearing.
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i just want to say again how much i appreciate what you all are doing to help our young people across this country. and thank you for being here today to testify. there were a number of things that struck a lot of the members here today. i know for me again, it always brings me back to those days when i was working with those young people on the street. one of the things t said about how the relationships and not really knowing what that healthy relationship was, when you think about it, most people in this country don't understand what she just said. because they have a healthy relationship, and when you say, t, i really didn't know what that was, i did know what love was, i didn't know what they found it was, i didn't know what that was. people don't get it. i didn't. i did it.
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is also wanted to mention we've had a series of hearings, one of those hearings a few months ago was about children being children and allowing foster kids to participate in sports and get rides with coaches and other parents and get a driver's license, and so that's a part of this whole effort as we move forward and have additional hearings, and stay in touch with you. we would like to do is provide some of the thoughts that we are having along the lines of what legislation might look like, forward those to you, get your input so that we can make sure that this is right. we want to get this right because it is about the future of the country, it's about saving lives, about saving the lives of our children. so thank you all very much, and i must say this last sentence for the record, if members have additional questions for the witnesses, they will submit them to you in writing, and we would
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appreciate receiving your responses for the record within two weeks. the committee stands adjourned. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> tonight, america profiles to members of congress.
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joe manchin and congresswoman rogers of washington state. it begins at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> author an astrophysicist and neil degrasse tyson on america's call for scientists and engineers spent as nasa's future goes, so too does that of america. and if nasa is healthy, then you don't need a program to convince people that science and engineering is good to do. because they will see it written large on the paper. there will be calls for engineers to help us go ice fishing on europa where there's an ocean of water that's been liquid for billions of years. we're going to dig through the source of mars and look for ice. i will give me the best browser to look at the national portfolio today. it's got biology, chemistry, physics, geology, aerospace
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engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, all the s.t.e.m. fields, science, technology, engineering and math, represent in the nasa portfolio. a healthy nasa is a flywheel that society casts for innovations spent over the past 15 years booktv has aired over 40,000 programs about nonfiction books and authors. tv every weekend on c-span2. >> the panel that included in a president david keene and the former advisor to president nixon discussed the recent government shutdown and conservatives political strategy. from the center for the national interest, this is an hour and a half. >> i'm the editor of the national interest, and we have convened this meeting because of the crisis that we recently experienced. we had the standoff between
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president obama and the congressional republicans. and a number of questions have emerged from the crisis, including but not limited to, the future of the republican party itself, the impact on america's image abroad, and what it implies for the duration of president obama's presidency. to answer some of the questions, or to attempt to address them, we have assembled a distinguished panel here today, including david keene, the former chairman of the american conservative union, and the current opinion editor of the "washington times." david is a veteran, political observer, and has participated in republican party politics for several decades. to my immediate right is romina
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boccia, the hermann fellow in federal budgetary affairs, wrote institute for economic policy studies, the heritage foundation, and she will address some of the economic implications of the crisis. to my immediate left is dimitri simes, president of the center for the national interest, which is the parent organization of the national interest magazine. and dmitri will talk about some of the implications internationally for the united states. and then to my furthest left, not politically, but deceiving lies -- but seeding wise is my friend and colleague, bob merry, the editor of the "congressional quarterly" for many years, and he will talk about some the domestic allocations of the
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crisis. i do like to kick it off by asking bob to give us some of his thoughts. spent it's a pleasure to be here. i like to think that i bring a perspective of distance to this past crisis. as many of you now -- as many of you know i spent a lot of my time on the west coast why concentrate on book projects, and so i was looking at washington from a distance during the shutdown, and found myself asking a question your what would mark twain say about all this? and i think i know based on one of my favorite mark twain quotes in which he illuminated on the intellectual capacity of fleas. your average fleet, said mr. clements, can be trained to do pretty much anything a congressman can. from that distance, i was
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looking out the crisis in terms of two things. number one, is this truly a crisis in terms of what it could actually generate, a default? and what is, what's explained the behavior in washington? and looking a just a few headlines from that period give you a sense of just what kind of a crisis it was from near times, warning global risk leaders -- warning of global risk, leaders urge u.s. to solve its debt limit crisis. these were leaders in the world bank and the imf who suggested that a massive destruction of the world over was in prospect. from the financial times, a piece by david lee, a professor of economics from china, beijing should cut back its lending to
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washington. from the "los angeles times," china calls for dollar to be replaced as global reserve currency. from the "washington post," the u.s. debt crisis spurs chinese calls for the americanized world. so obviously we were in a zone of ominous danger of, and yet it raises the question how can washington politicians be so stupid? i think the problem with the question, and much of the analysis that sort of surrounded that was that it assumes there is no fundamental connection between the political imaginations in washington and what is percolating and bubbling up within the country at large, but there is such a connection as there always is. and the country, as jacob said, was in crisis. it's an ongoing crisis and it's not going to be over anytime soon. and everything in washington is a reflection of what is, in fact, percolating in the country at large, which leads me to one last headline, which ran in the
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"washington post" over the byline of the brookings institution ran in "the wall street journal," tea party and the gop crackup. now, alston, who is not a republican, channeled walter ross on these famous piece of some years ago in which he talked about various political traditions in america and identified the jacksonian tradition, the jacksonian code. ..


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